The reality of black Africa
to VFR reader Karen in England:
Jeff, an American who lives in England, thinks you’re dangerous and too hard edged. I wrote back to him today:
“I think you’re overstating the problem of Karen. While I don’t approve of everything she says, if the world had followed Karen’s racial views for the last 50 years the West would be in infinitely better shape than it is.”
From the other side of the spectrum, Eugene, an American who lives in South Africa and has very realistic views about race differences, disagreed with my reply to you that “South African Apartheid with its massive racial engineering was a moral offense.” He said to me: “It didn’t work, it was ham-fisted, but how was it a moral offense? You yourself speak of the savagery that is in the black population, so how can the effort to control blacks be a moral offense?” My answer was that apartheid went too far in trying to control people. But I had to admit to him that I didn’t have the facts and arguments at hand at the moment to back up my statement adequately.
I guess that Jeff thinks he is living an exotic life in a part of multicultural London and his experience of people of different races is actually very superficial. I suspect he has never actually been to Africa, Middle East or Asia and seen how people of other races live and behave in any detail and how their behaviour and beliefs are incompatible with ours. Hence he has quite a glamorised and artificial view of them. One has to live and work with them for some time to realise just how different they are and how education and “Westernisation” do not fundamentally change them.
Black violence and criminality is not just a white problem. It is also a major problem for blacks. I will give you an example.
I spent some time with a Nigerian family in Lagos living in their home. They were very decent well educated Christian people and the father had won a scholarship to Cambridge where he had studied biochemistry. He then took a PhD at UCLA and returned to Nigeria to establish a functioning Biochemistry department in Nigeria’s premier university Ibadan. He had honourable intentions but it was an impossible task as blacks do not co-operate and he faced much resentment from his colleagues over his Western education. He established a factory and business making scientific equipment which brought financial success. That brought other problems as having money in Africa makes one an immediate target for criminals.
Successful Africans have to physically isolate themselves from the rest of the population. In Lagos, the wealthy live on an island apart from the city. Police road blocks monitor traffic to the island. The home becomes a prison surrounded by walls and high fences and security guards at the gate. It is dangerous to walk on the street for fear of kidnap. Going anywhere means going everywhere by car and at night a security guard has to be in the car. (These are off duty police officers). There are incessant power cuts and phone lines don’t work. Getting anything done requires the payment of “dash,” a bribe.
When driving around you get stopped by police who make demands for passport and wallets. Refusal to pay bribes leads to being threatened with guns. Persistent refusal means the arrival of the soldiers with larger guns and most of them are high on drugs. Much of the Police force and Army are out of control and massively corrupt. They regularly shoot people with impunity. The whole country was lawless. The majority of blacks are irrational and don’t think logically. They often act without thinking of the consequences of their actions. Children who steal sweets from shops are often arrested by Police and just shot dead. Africans in positions of power almost always have to be bribed or threatened to get them to do anything and almost everyone is out to steal. Security guards cannot be trusted and often get bribed by armed robbers (often off duty police officers) whom they let into the house claiming to have been “over powered.” At the house in Lagos, we had such an armed robbery at 8am when hooded armed thugs turned up in the garden and demanded a car, which they were given.
A few miles outside of Lagos there are still widespread sacrificial human killings and body parts can be seen by road sides. Many blacks believe that human sacrifices will bring them wealth.
There are many good people in Africa and the majority of Africans are happy people, much more so than Western people. However the good ones cannot exert any control the bad ones and end up having to run away from them. They must either live in some form of relative isolation or they must become corrupt themselves. In fact living there for any length of time makes one corrupt because it is impossible to get anything done without having to constantly bribe and threaten people. Actually, even arriving at Lagos airport the immigration officers try to get bribes by saying the visa is not correct. They have even threatened passengers with knives etc. When one arrives in Africa, one enters a lawless barbaric kingdom. And even the decent Africans show little loyalty to people or institutions. They will almost always do what suits them best at the particular time switching loyalties capriciously.
Most Western liberals have not seen this Africa. They have seen the safaris and beaches of Kenya, the beautiful African landscapes and wide open spaces. They have not had to live life as Africans live it. They have not come face to face with six ft tall black soldiers high on drugs, staggering across dust roads wielding Kalashnikovs. They have not experienced the daily casual brutality of African life.
When we let Africans live in the West, we have Africa in the West. If decent blacks cannot control their own wayward element and limit corruption, how can we? Wealthy and educated Africans have a self imposed apartheid system from their own people. What makes white people think they can live peacefully and happily with blacks? Most smart Africans know that it is not possible. Africans are a different type of human from whites.
Regarding apartheid, I don’t think it was a moral offence. There was segregation but blacks had their own schools, hospitals and universities which were the best functioning in black Africa. They did not have the same standard of living as whites or the right to vote and hence were perceived as being second class citizens. But has the end of apartheid changed that? The position of most blacks in SA is now worse than it was under apartheid. Their schools and hospitals are now utterly dysfunctional. Blacks are rioting against the ANC. There is rampant violence and criminality. Democracy has brought corrupt dysfunctional government. SA in a few years time will be like Nigeria, and perhaps like Nigeria will end up under martial law.
Perhaps Jeff should go to live in Lagos or Bombay for six months and see the life there as the natives live it, and not as a Western tourist. It is very exciting with more events in a day than happen in a month in the West but it is also brutal, dangerous and savage. And it is as impossible for Westerners to adapt to African or Asian life as it is for them to adapt to us.
In Nigeria there is a special crime called 419 Fraud after the Nigerian Penal Code. This is advance fee fraud and is a well known and often extremely successful scam for emptying the bank accounts of strangers. It has been implemented by Nigerians on individuals and businesses worldwide. The perpetrator approaches the victim by email, fax or letter pretending to be a relative of a Nigerian politician or Central Bank Governor. He claims to have a large amount of money which he needs to hide and requests the use of the victim’s bank account in return for a reward of a substantial sum. The tone of the letters suggests that there is something not quite above board about all this and it thereby implicates the victim as a conspirator in a crime. When bank details are released, the account of the victim is usually rapidly emptied.
The number of victims is huge and it is amazing how many people have been lured into this scam. 12 years ago this almost collapsed the banking system of Hong Kong and Nigerians were barred from entry there. Last year a Nigerian lawyer was convicted of duping the Bank of Brazil out of $23 million, yes, $23 million! Sitting in his office in Lagos he managed to get this massive sum out of them. It does not say much for the Bank of Brazil. But it revealed the fact that most of Nigeria’s (and Africa’s) biggest fraudsters are not the uneducated but the educated elites.
A Nigerian lawyer based in London was last year arrested for laundering money from 419 fraud and drugs smuggling. He was a solicitor and barrister and laundered the money into properties through his two London law firms. He commented that the victims “deserved to lose their money as they had been destroyed by their own greed“ and then added “if they were honest people they would not get involved would they?”
No remorse. Otherwise he appeared outwardly to be a respectable educated professional man, just the type of person liberals like to wheel out as an example of “successful black professionalism.”
I once flew on Nigeria Airways from London to Lagos. A six hour direct flight turned into a three day journey through Israel and Egypt. We left London to fly to Tel Aviv. Only the first class passengers knew we were going there. The rest of the passengers thought they had been hijacked when they landed in the morning in Tel Aviv and not Lagos. Mass hysteria broke out. “Where are we? This does not look like Lagos!” The pilots made no announcements. They told the stewards to tell the passengers to “shut up.”
The passengers became uncontrollable and started jumping on the seats. They seriously thought they were going to be abducted. The captain did not care. Eventually he told the stewards to tell the passengers that they were in Israel to pick up religious pilgrims and would be waiting on board for a couple of hours as “the Israelis don’t want us blacks in their airport in case we run away.” I asked him why he did not tell them they were going to Israel before they boarded and he said “half of them are Moslems and if they knew we were going to Israel they would have rioted at Heathrow.” Instead they rioted in Tel Aviv having been forcibly abducted to Israel.
The pilots could not control the passengers many of whom were hysterical and some had fainted. They were howling and squawking in that particular African way. Israeli security had to take control of the plane and take the passengers off as they were afraid that they were going to wreck the aircraft.
We spent a day in Tel Aviv airport. There were fights between the Israelis and the Nigerian pilots. No landing fees paid, no money paid for refueling, fuel too expensive. There was talk of impounding the plane but the thought of 230 black passengers many of whom were Moslems must have made that unattractive. The Nigerian Ambassador to Israel got involved. Eventually moves were made to fly to Cairo to refuel.
All passengers boarded and the plane started to push back. Suddenly Israeli security stopped and ordered the plane to be off loaded as a passenger was missing. They thought there could be a bomb aboard. One passenger absconded in Tel Aviv and had seemingly escaped from the airport, no where to be found.
Captains response “so what?”
Security insisted all passengers and luggage be offloaded.
Captain’s response: “Who wants to bomb Nigerian Airways? What’s all this about?”
Security said that the plane is flying over Israeli airspace and so must conform to security checks. With many Moslems in Nigeria a bomb could be possible.
Captain’s response: “This is rubbish“
The plane was impounded and the crew got off leading to a major dispute and much pointing of fingers at Israeli security (the way blacks try to intimidate people). It nearly ended up in a punch up. The security had to call for back ups when faced with six African pilots and a bellicose Nigerian Ambassador. When the Ambassador agreed with the Israeli security, the pilots then turned upon the Ambassador and threatened to throw him off the flight.
Security completed, we flew to Cairo and then Lagos. The Egyptians would not allow the plane anywhere near the air terminal. It landed, refueled and left. After this, Nigeria Airways was banned from flying to and from Heathrow on grounds of failing to comply with security and endangering passengers’ lives. Other planes were impounded in Paris and Geneva (important route to the Swiss bank accounts). The airline collapsed and has never been restarted. There is now no Nigerian national carrier.
If Karen had read my past writing to VFR she will know how critical of black culture and black crime I have been. But she would also know that I emphasise civility of tone when criticising any culture or Individual. Not to do so lowers the impact and quality of any argument that is made (Ann Coulter is a good example of commentators whose credibility decreased when she resorted to insults and general nastiness).
In addition, Karen should beware her assumptions about people. I don’t live in multicultural London nor would I want to. Of course I know black crime affects black people as much if not more than white people. I lived in an all black area years ago in America and there I was attacked by four black muggers and had a gun to my head. My dog was hurt (years later white Irish gypsies also hurt a dog of mine). I haven’t been to black Africa but don’t need to be told I need to; I know it’s a s***hole even if there are many nice people there. Again my friendships with certain black people in no way means I don’t feel critical of black culture. Why does Karen assume I’m not?
It seems Karen makes that assumption of me so she can go off on her set agenda with me as the naive patsy. She seems wants me to have a love-in with black culture (and multiculturalism) so she can then dismiss my arguments. Well, sorry I don’t fit the picture. What I am concerned about is civility and decency and I find that lacking in Karen’s criticism of black culture and multiculturalism. Criticism full of hate and anger and nastiness usually indicates a problem with the critic. I also feel that Karen’s picture of blacks in the West is simplistic. How does she explain that many Western blacks don’t act in a violent way or anything remotely like it. Does she allow that people may change over time in different surroundings? Does she consider Shelby Steele, Dick Gregory [LA says: see note on Dick Gregory below], Oprah Winfrey, and Condi Rice savages? Or different sort of humans? I know four black people fairly well. Does she know any? One of the four is a 350 pound guy. Gentle as a pussycat. All are lovely people who are hardly savages. It would be laughable to call them a different sort of human. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some differences between races. But to call anyone a different sort of human is infantile and nasty. Let’s keep the conversation on a “civilised” level.
I appreciate Jeff’s concern for civility and for avoiding undue negative generalizations. At the same time, I appreciate Karen’s realistic discussion of the black African way of life, and its inconceivable, several-orders-of-magnitude, differences from the way of life in the West. The thing is, the West is filled to overbrimming with Jeff-type solicitude, and has far too little Karen-type realism. Also, given her interest in Africa and the concerns she expresses about the suffering and dilemmas of the Africans themselves, and her interesting observation that blacks are happier people than whites, I don’t see how anyone could see Karen’s comments as an expression of mere prejudice or dislike. I think she is describing what she is seeing, and drawing conclusions about it. Perhaps her tone is too blunt at times and she is making unfair generalizations at some points, failing to see enough exceptions to the overall negative picture, but, as I said at the beginning of my article on the problem of race and intelligence, these are difficult issues, and we must start somewhere.
Also, let us remember the great lesson from John Ford’s movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: civilization needs the James Stewart types, the men of law and decency; but, even more fundamentally, it also needs the John Wayne types, the hard men who make civilization possible in the first place.
James R. writes:
Karen says, “There are many good people in Africa and the majority of Africans are happy people, much more so than Western people.” It is inconceivable to me that a hellhole could be the spawning ground for happiness.
Kim du Toit, who recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of his arrival in America, spent his first thirty years in South Africa and has described an Africa which is much worse than most of us can imagine, and indeed seems unreal even after reading his words.
Russell W. writes:
Your correspondence with Karen and Jeff brought to mind this anecdote from a Jonah Goldberg column I read a handful of years ago:
On December 8, 1978, two Zairian air force jets approached Kinshasa, the capital. The tower radioed the pilots, telling them they couldn’t land because of low visibility. The pilots, presented with this problem, ejected from their planes and parachuted to safety. The perfectly good—and very expensive—Mirage jets crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. Problem solved. The thing that’s almost as insane as the attitudes in the anecdote is that Goldberg used this story as a jumping-off point to suggest a massive “Marshall-plan”-like by the US to fix Africa. Hoo-boy!
I’ve always thought this story was hilarious. It’s from David Lamb’s The Africans, a wonderful if somewhat depressing account of Africa’s plight. He recounts the story as one in a litany of examples of how Africans do not have the same concept of cause and effect as people in the West do. Take driving, for instance. Africa has comparatively few cars but incredibly high traffic-accident rates. Many Africans think nothing of driving at blistering speeds around hairpin turns.
…One reason offered by Lamb is that the typical uneducated African learns the wrong lessons from such things as near-misses. “If an oncoming car has to swerve off the road to avoid his vehicle, and there are no collisions or injuries,” Lamb writes, “the African does not say, Next time I’d better not do that.” Instead he will do it again because it worked for him the last time…
Of course, that column was written just over 6 years ago. I assume (or hope) that Goldberg is now embarrassed by the suggestion.
It makes perfect sense. It’s perfectly ok to point out endemic intellectual incompetence in Africa, if you immediately follow it up with a proposal for massive state action to improve the African condition. If you pointed out the very same things about Africa, but concluded that no welfare plan or Marshall Plan could help, then you’d be a racist.
Howard Sutherland writes:
African savagery is indisputable. Is it unique? What about the casual criminality of Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, the Dominican Republic…, all of which we hasten to import?
That post produced a good number of comments but what is really striking is the attitude of Jeff and James. James believes that people cannot be happy in a “hell hole” like sub Saharan Africa. This is characteristic of the imperialist universalist thinking of liberals and neocons and is an example of what the web site is trying to demonstrate—the fallacious nature and fundamental errors of liberal/neocon thought.
James believes that what is a hell hole for him, and probably most white Western people, must also be a hell hole for Africans. He believes that if he could not be happy in a place like Nigeria, then other people could also not be happy there. Following this logic what makes him happy and works for him, would work for other such as Africans. Is this not the same thinking which leads noeocons to try to democratise Iraq? The basic assumption that all humans are alike and want the same things is wrong. The assumption that we can bring about messianic transformations of non-Western individuals and societies into Western models is also wrong.
He does not indicate an awareness of the fact that Africans are different. Africa is not a hell hole for Africans. It is their physical and spiritual home. Of the 800 million people in Africa , the vast majority have never left the continent. It is the only home they know and most of them love it. The fact that a country is dysfunctional does not make people hate it. Sweden is a highly efficient country which also has high rates of depression, alcoholism and suicide. Africa with all its massive problems has low suicide rates and low rates of depression. The majority of Africans have very little materially but the majority are also very happy. And this is an example of how the open borders free market consumerist style of capitalism espoused by neocons does not bring happiness. What is important to Western people is not always important to others and non-Western people do not view things in the same way as Westerners. They have different styles of thought and perception. That is why when Africans live in the West, they create African type of areas. That is what their home is like and that is what they feel comfortable with.
Blacks come to the West for economic reasons but that does not mean that they like Western people or society.
A reader writes:
Karen says: “The basic assumption that all humans are alike and want the same things is wrong.”
No Karen, this assumption is not wrong. It is supported on an empirical and scientific basis. People are infinitely more similar than they are different. What you’re referring to with regard to “perception” is relativism. As you stated, “Africa is not a hell hole for Africans. Of the 800 million people in Africa , the vast majority have never left the continent.” For this reason many Africans don’t have anything to compare their situation to. If you don’t know that better things exist, you will try to find the good in what you have. However, if they were exposed to or had the opportunity to live in a Western nation, there is no doubt which nation they would prefer and why. This is not to be confused with nationalism which is something that most ethnic groups display even when they emigrate to a new country. They’re delighted to live in a “better” country, but that doesn’t make them want to deny where they were born.
“That is why when Africans live in the West, they create African type of areas. That is what their home is like and that is what they feel comfortable with. “
This is also wrong. Africans typically become better off than native Blacks when they come to the West. Some adopt the ghetto culture of blacks in countries like America which has just as much to do with collective self hate and self imposed racism as it does with external racism.
Being content with something often means accepting one’s fate even if one is not pleased with that fate. It is altogether different from being happy.
According to the reader, the only way to change the Africans—which we are apparently morally obligated to do in order to demonstrate the higher moral truth that people are basically the same—is to bring them to America. The assumption—the liberal assumption—is that America has no duty to itself as a country, that America only exists for the purpose of proving the sameness of all men and the universality of mankind.
I wonder if the reader thinks that Muslims want the same things we want. That’s what President Bush believes, and he’s based his whole foreign policy (at least rhetorically) on it. Yet it’s evident to anyone with eyes that Muslims do not want American-style freedom, they want Islam. Muslims are a fifth of the human race. I’d say that’s pretty strong disproof of the reader’s thesis.
The next time Jeff from England cites Dick Gregory as a fine example of an assimilated upstanding black, let’s remember this, from FrontPage Magazine:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 25, 2006 03:30 PM | Send
Conspiracymongering, though, is something of a staple of the modern NAACP, ever desperate to assert legitimization for continued existence. At the same NAACP conference graced by the Leader of the Free World, “comedian” Dick Gregory insisted white devils are poisoning black people’s food and drink – and worse, beer! “I murder because something’s in my food, something’s in my water,” he said on behalf of all murderers-of-color. He found evidence the FBI keeps files proving “polluted water can cause brain damage that turns ordinary people into violent criminals.” That’s why honkies deliberately spike malt liquor with manganese, because, “Once you get so much manganese in you, you will kill your momma.”